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Lee R. Berger

Academy of Achievement

Lee R. Berger
12 min2012 OCT 25
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The paleoanthropologist Lee Rogers Berger has supervised archeological expeditions across South Africa, in Zimbabwe, and on the islands of the
Micronesian archipelago. In 1997, he received the first National Geographic Society Prize for Research and Exploration for his studies of
human evolution. He is best known for his 2008 discovery of Australopithecus sediba, a previously unknown species of hominid.
His nine-year-old son Matthew found the first fragments of sediba in a cave outside Johannesburg. The site eventually yielded the two
million-year-old remains of a young boy, an infant and two adults, all specimens of the species of Australopithecus sediba, perhaps an
intermediate stage between ape-like hominids and the more human Homo habilis. Berger studied anthropology, archaeology and geology at Georgia
Southern University, while working as a news cameraman on the side. On one occasion, he threw down his camera and jumped into the Savannah River
to save a drowning woman, an act that won him awards from the National Press Photographers Association and the Boy Scouts of America.
He undertook doctoral studies in palaeoanthropology at the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa, where he has lived ever since.
Berger is the author of several books, including In the Footsteps of Eve and The Official Field Guide to the Cradle of Humankind. Dr. Berger
presents his discoveries in this podcast, recorded at the National Geographic Society in Washington D.C. during the 2012 International Achievement Summit.